The word ‘hacking’ is defined as compromising or gaining access without particular individuals’ permission in an unauthorized manner. In today’s digital world, it is one of the most common or rational fears. As technology evolves, hackers too are evolving as even the most upgraded software is being hacked. According to an article in a leading news portal, in the year 2018, more than 2.5 Billion accounts were hacked which is about 6.85 million accounts hacked every day. This is a statistic that we do not want to think about.
How can your device be hacked?
A Hacker has many ways to hack your phone. The more technology gets evolves, the more are the ways for it to get hacked. There are many applications online that are available for free which in turn gives free access to hackers at any given moment. Let us enlist some common ways through which a device can be hacked.
Phishing is one of the most common ways through which your phone can be hacked. Phishing is nothing but a link that is generated in the form of a text message or any forwarded message. Once an individual click on that particular link, all the data in his/her phone gets compromised or you can say that theft of data takes place almost immediately. This can also happen via Internet Banking websites which can prove to be very harmful as all your hard-earned savings might get stolen.
Malicious App via Unknown Source
Any Application which is downloaded via an unknown source can be a malicious or a suspicious app. It may also be a spy application which records all your activity. When we install any application via an unknown source, it may also have another application bound with it. Such types of apps are often in hidden mode and hence most are unaware of their existence on their devices.
Juice Jacking is a type of cyber-attack that allows a charging port to double as a data connection through a USB. Whenever we are traveling, we usually connect our phones to free battery charging stations, unaware of the fact that there might be a juice jacking setup. Through juice jacking, our data may be stolen through the charging cable which is, in reality, a data cable. Through this, your precious and private data is captured and the hacker can further debug a spy application, which allows all your mobile data to be monitored.
Social Media Accounts
Social Media is the reason why most teenagers and adults use their respective phones. Social Media has brought people closer, connected people, but it has its disadvantages and risks too. It is quite common to sign up on a social media account through Gmail but we are unaware of the possibility of a malicious or a spy app attached to it. Once signed up to such an app, it can manage your social media accounts and post images and messages on your behalf. Recently, there was a trend about “How will you look after 5 years”. Once you click there, it asks for your permission to access your devices’ camera, files, or your account. If the permission is granted, the game actually gave access of your social media accounts to malicious third-party applications.
Ways your phone can be hacked and how to prevent it?
- Install any paid anti-virus application which will help detect the vulnerabilities in your device. With the help of the application, you can check whether there is any spy application on the device or not. It can also detect the number of applications that have been downloaded from unknown sources.
- You can check if your USB debugging setting is turned on or not. You can also check whether your social media accounts have third-party access or not.
- If you want to verify any phishing links, you can verify it by using anti-phishing solutions.
- You can use a physical security encryption key for robust protection of your device.
- The chances of your iPhone getting hacked through iCloud credentials are high, setting up two-factor authentication for an iCloud account is advisable.
- One should always update their phone whenever there are any new updates. A device without an update can be very vulnerable and has a higher chance of getting hacked.
- Always avoid connecting your device to the free Wi-Fi networks as your data can easily get stolen. Even if you are using regular Wi-Fi, try to use VPN Paid solutions.
Threats faced due to hacked device:
- Magnitude or the type of threat differs from person to person and how they use their devices.
- A hacker can hijack your accounts and can change your password because of which you will have no control or access to your account.
- They can use your data in the most unauthorized way possible that includes indulging in criminal activities.
- A hacker can check your phone to go through your private content, photos as well as videos.
- They can also get access to your camera and microphone. For E.g. Any confidential meeting – official or otherwise can be spied on with the help of a compromised microphone or camera which can be used to leak the information or use it against you.
(The author is Mr. Nikhil Mahadeshwar, Co-founder, Director and CTO, Skynet Softtech Pvt. Ltd and the views expressed in this article are his own)